When asked which airport had the best food, Anthony Bourdain told the New York Times, “Probably Changi Airport in Singapore has the best food; it has a hawker center for the employees that’s open to the public.”
Yes, Changi Airport has great food options with restaurants serving everything from Japanese Ramen to Xiao Long Bao. It even has a very popular public food court at the basement of Terminal 3.
However, those familiar with Changi Airport will know that the “hawker center for the employees” Anthony Bourdain is referring to the Changi Airport staff canteen.
In fact, Changi Airport has two staff canteens. One is tucked away in the basement of Terminal 1 and another hidden at the rooftop of the carpark of Terminal 2.
The staff canteen at Terminal 1 is known as the Orchis Food Court and has been renovated in 2017.
The staff canteen at Terminal 2 has also been renovated and may look slightly different from how Mr. Bourdain remembers it. Nonetheless, it still offers honest-to-goodness meals for the hardworking staff of Singapore’s Changi Airport at reasonable prices and, yes, it is still open to the public.
Let us show you how to make your way to the Changi Airport Terminal 2 staff canteen.
Changi Airport Staff Canteen at Terminal 2
For those with heavy luggage, the best way to the Changi Airport Terminal 2 staff canteen is from the arrival level.
Head towards the end of the Arrival Hall closer to Belt 38. That is also where McDonalds is located.
What's On: Deepavali Open Houses and Events
Performances, Hands-On Trials and Japanese Cultural Activities: Why the Japanese Calligraphy Exhibition in Singapore (20 to 25 Oct) Is More Than Your Usual Art Exhibition
Take the sliding doors leading out of the Terminal 2 building.
Cross the road using the zebra crossing.
From there, at the end of passageway, you will come to a lift which advertises that the staff canteen at Level 3M is now open.
Use that lift to head straight up to Level 3M where the staff canteen is located.
Those who don’t mind a bit of stair climbing or who are coming from the Departure Level / Level 2 can use a different route.
At Terminal 2 Level 2, head past the Starbucks near Check-In Row 12 and exit the glass sliding doors towards the car park.
To the right of the sliding glass doors are a set of lifts. You can take these lifts up to Level 3.
From Level 3, take a flight of stairs up one level and you will arrive at Terminal 2’s Changi Airport staff canteen.
The Changi Airport staff canteen has 20 different stalls where you can try local food like fish soup, chicken rice, yong tau foo & ban mian, and nasi padang. Prices are quite typical of food courts in Singapore – between S$4 to S$6 for a dish.
Finding the Changi Airport Staff Canteen at Terminal 1 Staff Canteen
Changi Airport Terminal 1 has its own staff canteen too. There are two ways to get the to Terminal 1 staff canteen. This is how you find it.
Route 1 to T1 Staff Canteen
At Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 Arrival Level, head in the direction of Belt 23. Go past the Burger King fast food outlet and exit the terminal building through the glass sliding doors leading to the pick up points.
Immediately after exiting the glass sliding doors of the terminal building, turn left and walk to the end of the passageway.
The T1 staff canteen, also known as Orchis Food Court, is at the bottom of a flight of stairs.
Route 2 to Terminal 1 Staff Canteen
The alternative way to the Orchis Food Court is to take an elevator down to the basement from the Departure Level of Terminal 1.
Head towards Check-In Row 13 at Terminal 1 and look for a corridor that leads to lifts 8, 9 and 26. Take the lift down to the basement where the food court can be found.
There you have it and now you are in the know. Perhaps the next time you stop at the Changi Airport staff canteen, you may end up seeing Anthony Bourdain dining there too.